Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

New York State law defines domestic violence as a series of coercive and abusive tactics intended to intimidate and control the perpetrator’s family member or adult intimate partner. These actions can be physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, or economic in scope and effect. The victim is typically:

  • related to the perpetrator by affinity or consanguinity
  • a current or former spouse
  • living in an unmarried relationship with the abuser
  • someone who has a child in common with the abuser
  • in a relationship defined as “intimate”

Domestic violence offenses face a broad range of penalties under New York law. For example, if anyone is charged with assault in the first degree, which is a violent felony, then they could be sentenced to five to 25 years in prison and/or be fined up to $5,000. Menacing in the second degree, which applies when someone threatens another person with a firearm or other deadly weapon, is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Other crimes linked to domestic violence can include:

  • Aggravated harassment
  • Aggravated criminal contempt
  • Stalking
  • Menacing
  • Strangulation and related offenses
  • Endangering the welfare of a child

Law enforcement personnel such as NYPD officers are required to make mandatory arrests when confronted with evidence of domestic violence. As a result, innocent people can be charged on the basis of a false accusation or evidence attributable to other causes.

False accusations of domestic violence

If you are involved in an acrimonious divorce, child custody battle, or even a bitter breakup with a jealous and spiteful partner, then he or she may accuse you of domestic violence to “get even.” The mere accusation can stigmatize you because the police are duty-bound to arrest you and the charge is a highly inflammatory one.

Not only does an allegation of domestic violence threaten you with jail time and a criminal record, but you will also be forced to stay away from your home once an Order of Protection is issued, leaving behind your children. If you are convicted, then other collateral consequences include loss of professional licenses and certifications. This makes a domestic violence charge especially devastating for:

  • Educators such as teachers and university professors
  • Attorneys
  • Doctors and nurses
  • Police officers
  • Members of the military

For all of these reasons, if you have been accused of domestic violence, then you need to hire an experienced New York criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights and your freedom aggressively. They will present your side of the alleged events and uphold your rights in court so that you benefit from the highest degree of legal support possible. A domestic violence charge can destroy a person’s personal and professional life, but the right attorney will put their extensive training and experience to work for you. Julie Rendelman has over 20 years of legal experience—both as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. To contact her Manhattan office, call 212-951-1232. Ms. Rendelman offers free legal consultations to prospective clients.